(*The original remains of the body of the Lady of Cao, are on display in the Cao Museum)
In 2005, in a ceremonial enclosure of the Huaca Cao Viejo, in El Brujo Archaeological Complex, the tomb of the Lady of Cao was discovered.
The insignia and emblems that the Lady of Cao wore inside her funerary bundle (crowns, diadems, truncheons, nose rings, necklaces, among others) were symbols of power in her time and indicate that she was a very important character in the Mochica social structure.
This archaeological finding is unique in its class in Prehispanic America because for the first time a funerary trousseau of this nature associated with a woman was registered.
The Lady of Cao lived between 300 AD and 400 AD; and the Old Lord of Sipán is considered contemporary. It had an approximate height of 1.48 m. and according to the characteristics of her womb, it is estimated that she died shortly after giving birth, between 25 and 30 years of age.
Thanks to the use of cinnabar (mercury sulfide), a toxic substance used for ritual purposes, as well as the conservation conditions of the site where it was found, the remains of the Lady of Cao were preserved for more than 1,700 years.
However, to guarantee the proper preservation of the body of the Lady of Cao in the future, a replica of this invaluable archaeological evidence has been produced using 3D technology, a project that will allow us to disseminate this finding, as well as promote its observation and study, for the benefit of future generations.
At the moment the real body of the Lady of Cao rests in an urn in the Cao Museum, where it can be visited and observed only through the reflection of a mirror.